Women's Rights in Afghanistan
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During Taliban’s reign in Afghanistan, women became victims of sexism. The Taliban claimed that it wanted a secure environment where dignity and chastity of women were sanctified. The Taliban forced women to wear a face-veiling haïk so that they would not corrupt men from other religious and ethnic backgrounds. The requirement was an extension of the authoritarian rule since even the Qur’an does not support it. Women were greatly disadvantaged in a widespread systematic segregation. Additionally, females would not be educated after the age of eight years and would only study the Qur’an.
The Right to Education
Banning women above eight years of age from going to school received international condemnation. The Taliban claimed that the suspension of girls above eight years old from education was provisional, up until amenities that prevented cross-gender contact were adapted. There were rumors that the Taliban were contemplating the introduction of new curriculum (Mehta, 2002). Additionally, the Taliban made people believe that the suspension was in the best interests of Islam; it would enable the revision of the existing Sharia-based curriculum.
The decree that banned girls from receiving education affected female teachers and thousands of students and university undergraduates. Some women, intending to offer education secretly, ran clandestine schools, mostly disguising them as sewing classes (Skaine, 2001). They did offer education under the threat of being found and executed (Travis, 2005).
More than three-quarters of women in Afghanistan were being forced into marriages during the reign of the Taliban, which permitted early marriages. In most cases, they encouraged marriage for girls as young as sixteen. Some girls were sold off to resolve a dispute or repay debt; it wasalso reinforced by increased poverty levels arising from women’s abandonment of jobs.
Due to the need to hide from the Taliban and the punitive transportation requirements, many female doctors and nurses chose to reside at hospitals. This greatly affected their marriages as they would not see their families often. Women were relegated to home duties and mostly spent their time indoors. They were expected to obey their husbands without question. Women who mistreated or disobeyed their husbands were punished in public. Women who killed their husbands were tortured and then executed. They were raped and murdered. Women who did not meet the clothing expectations of the Taliban were whipped and verbally abused. At home, they were not even allowed to laugh loudly. Their idolaters were stoned to death (Dubitsky). They were not allowed to stand on the balconies of their houses. They were not allowed to wash clothes next to open waters or in a public place (Mehta, 2002).
Most women lost their husbands to war. Most Afghan widows are below 40 years old. Only about 5% of Afghan women are educated. Additionally, most of them bring up more than four children (Dubitsky). While such women received constant support from their husband’s family, help was not always guaranteed. Some women would end up in prostitution (Dubitsky).
The Right to Work
The Taliban banned women from being employed in a mixed-sex workplace, as this was a breach of sharia and purdah law. Rural women were less affected than urban women, as they normally worked within ‘safe’ kin environments. Women were permitted to have particular jobs. Female medical practitioners were allowed to work. They were important for midwifery duties and for providing gynecological, as well as antenatal services (Travis, 2005).
The Taliban placed restrictions on women's freedom of movement. Consequently, they could not find work to sustain themselves when they did noot have breadwinners. Moreover, women who did not wear a burqa or did not have a mahram could not easily move around (Skaine, 2001). There are restrictions that made it impossible for some women to work in places far away from home. They were banned from going in taxis without their close relative. Worse still, they were not permitted to ride bicycles or motorcycles at all, even in the company of their mahrams. They had segregated bus services that prevented women and men from going by the same bus; female buses were very few when compared to male buses.
When the Taliban decreed that all women should be banned from employment in 1996, females who worked in the government were greatly affected; they formed about a quarter of government employees (Travis, 2005). Many elementary school teachers were affected. Tens of thousands of women were affected in total. The Taliban promised to pay them a monthly wage of about 5 dollars each (Skaine, 2001).
The Taliban standard precluded women from fundamental rights and opportunities. They were embarrassed, rebuffed, tormented and executed. They were not permitted to associate openly with men, and were compelled to leave school and work. The Taliban made people believe that the suspension of women from education was in the best interests of Islam. Punitive transportation requirements prevented women from seeking employment or returning home. Although there are many ongoing programs to raise awareness about the plight of women, there has been too much damage already. Rejection of the chance to be educated keeps on causing destitution among some women. The circumstance is further intensified by Afghanistan's high number of kids for every family and high number of women in comparison to men. These scenarios affect the provision of basic needs. Some institutions that declined during the Taliban era are gradually being revived. International non-governmental organizations continue to offer necessary support to raise the status of women.
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